Tsakalotos calls on IMF to stop pressing for extra austerity


Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Monday called on the International Monetary Fund not to seek a compromise that would be detrimental to Greece in comments at the 27th annual conference of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.

It is not a courageous step to press Greece for more austerity measures instead of clashing with major European countries to secure the reduction of Greece's debt, Tsakalotos said.

He added that European officials negotiating with Greece should seek a solution as regards labor relations that is within EU regulations governing that area.

The Greek government cannot accept the demand for more measures because of the disagreement between the IMF and European officials on the budget outlook, Tsakalotos said.

As for the issue of fiscal targets for 2018, if the primary surplus target is reduced to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product, the Greek finance minister said the difference should go toward lightening taxes and social security contributions and boosting competitiveness.

On the crucial issue of debt, Tsakalotos said Athens expected the confirmation of short-term measures at the December 5 Eurogroup as well as a discussion about medium- and long-term measures.